Top 5 Places to Teach Abroad in Africa

by Dominic James Fusco

To many, Africa remains a far away land of great mystery and intrigue, a massive continent that has long been a central beacon of humanity. Yet, few people ever get the chance to visit Africa and qualify this distant impression with something more tangible and realistic.

In our modern age, teaching abroad is one of the best ways to experience total immersion into another culture, while contributing your time and effort toward something that is productive for a local community. Consistently lacking in resources and funding, education is a point of great need in Africa, and teachers from all over the world are welcomed with open arms to lend a helping hand by teaching abroad in Africa. 

Whether entering into a volunteer or paid teaching job, in any subject, teaching abroad in Africa will change your outlook on the world and greatly impact the lives of your students. Since the countries that are encompassed by the continent of Africa are as broad and diverse as the teaching jobs available, we’ve compiled a list of the top five places to teach abroad in Africa, to help you get started. 

African man weaving at a market

Ghana

Ghana was the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to declare its independence from European colonists, and this spirit of progress and leadership continues to drive the country forward as a regional power in West Africa. A diverse nation of 27 million nestled pristinely along the the Gulf of Guinea, Ghana’s economy is starting to take off, as it becomes one of the world’s leading producers of diamonds, natural gas, and cocoa 

Yet, for many of the country’s urban and rural poor, much of the income from these natural resources remains unseen. While Ghana’s school enrollment rate is one of the highest in all of Africa, classrooms are often overcrowded and teachers overworked. English is the national language of Ghana, making it an inviting destination to teach abroad for international teachers who want to help aid local teachers in the battle toward educational development. 

South Africa

South Africa is perennially the most popular destination for teaching jobs in Africa, and for good reason. Following a complex history tainted by colonization and oppression, South Africa has risen up from its challenging past to become one of the top economic and political leaders of the continent. With a host of impressive cities, including Cape Town, South Africa boasts a number of highly attractive teach abroad destinations. 

Today, South Africa is an incredibly diverse nation (the constitution recognizes 11 official languages) that is categorized as a newly industrialized country, with an upper-middle income, which is perhaps symbolic of Africa’s promising future. Don’t let these fancy labels mislead you though, there is still a huge amount of inequality in South Africa, so international educators are continuously needed to step in and help minimize the educational opportunity gaps throughout the country.

Moroccan desert

Morocco

The only North African destination on this list, Morocco is one of the most iconic and popularly traveled to countries on the continent. With a unique blend of European, Arabic, and African cultures stemming from its regional centrality, Morocco maintains a distinctive national identity that is unlike anywhere else in Africa or the Mediterranean.

Arabic is the national language of Morocco, making it a great place for educators who want to learn this widely applicable language while in return teaching English to local students. Largely influenced by its Muslim heritage, Morocco is also a premier destination for world travelers who want to immerse themselves in the Islamic culture and come to understand its mystery and often misunderstood beliefs. From Casablanca to Marrakesh to Rabat, there are no shortage of sights to be seen or new experiences to be had while teaching in Morocco.

Kenya

A major regional power in East and Central Africa, Kenya is widely known for its tremendous geographical and biological diversity. With a number of prestigious wildlife reserves, world-class beaches, and the largest freshwater lake in the world (Lake Victoria), international teachers will have their hands full exploring Kenya’s rugged landscape on their free time. While going on a safari will most definitely be an experience to remember, teachers will find that teaching jobs in Kenya are immensely more rewarding in the long run.

Close to 50 million people live in Kenya, making it one of Africa’s largest countries. Nairobi is the nation’s capital and largest city, but other urban areas, such as Mombasa, also have a great need for international teachers to help expand educational opportunities for local students. While English is the medium of education in Kenya, Swahili is the more common tongue spoken at home and in private settings, giving international teachers a chance to both teach and learn during their time in Kenya. 

Native African fishing boats in the harbor

Tanzania

Tanzania is one of the most popular travel destination in Africa because of its impressive cultural diversity, and because it is home to the famed Mount Kilimanjaro. At the same time, Tanzania has considerable domestic troubles and social issues, which are too often left as an afterthought for many foreign tourists. However, international teachers have the skills and knowledge needed to alleviate a great deal of societal problems, by providing educational resources. For starters nearly half of the current population of Tanzania is under 15 years old, creating a serious mismatch between the amount of students and educators available to teach them.

Tanzania’s official languages are English and Swahili, yet over 100 different languages are spoken across the country (making it East Africa’s most linguistically diverse country). English teaching jobs are the most common employment opportunity for foreign educators in Tanzania, although there are often plenty of other subjects to choose from too, including science, math, and even health education. The openness to foreign teachers can be partially credited to the work of the Tanzanian Ministry of Education, and their partnerships that allow foreign teachers to locate jobs at local schools in Tanzania.